The tech-forward crowd finds the idea of distributing CD-ROMs silly. Snarks Techdirt: "A bunch of newspapers have decided that if one bit of old media (newspapers) isn't enough, why not two? That's right, they're going to start shipping CDs with the morning newspaper, sort of like computer magazines from a decade or so ago ... If this content is so valuable, and is going to be viewed on a computer anyway, why not just put it online?" The skepticism is warranted, but it's also worth remembering that most people aren't tech-forward. There can be big rewards for using "old media" as a bridge to "new media," as NetFlix discovered when it used the drab old U.S. Mail as a bridge between its online DVD rental site and the homes of customers - at a time when a lot of Web 1.0 entrepreneurs were losing their shirts (or their investors' shirts) by trying to deliver video over the Net.
Well, NetFlix is a bad example. For one thing, most broadband connections aren't fast enough to support downloading (except for p2p) movies in a reasonable timeframe. Second, the MPAA has worked very hard to make sure that the downloadable model can't work well: can you download bits, burn a DVD, and watch it on your normal DVD player? Probably not, and trying to remove the copy protection violates the DMCA.
The problem with his example is that it doesn't line up. Let's consider CD's with a newspaper though. Say I want to read content from the NY Times. Why wouldn't I just visit their website? The audience that won't visit the website is the same one that won't stick a CD in their computer - probably because they don't have one. The tech snark is correct here: this idea is DOA.